Midsummer in Minnesota means gardens are just now yielding produce that you can be proud of. The hot summer sun is ripening peppers, rows of cabbage, and zucchini. A group of gardening advocates is paying close attention to this year's yield.
"We source from farmer's markets, private gardens, community gardens like here at Grace Fellowship Church, to get fresh produce for the food shelf," says Claire Baglien, who is coordinating the Garden Gleaning Project in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Osseo. "If we are able to bring some fresh foods that are local and organic too, it's really a great way to help people have healthier lifestyles."
At Grace Community Garden in Brooklyn Park, there are 108 plots. Much of what is produced here goes straight to the food shelf at CEAP in Brooklyn Center. This is the third year CEAP has participated in the project. They received 4,400 pounds of produce last year and hope to collect double that amount this year.
"We're trying to have them donate at least half of their produce for some designated programs, and encourage other gardeners to make some worthwhile donations," says Wayne Corrigan, who coordinates the project at the church. "There's just a need for the food in our area, and what better to have fresh produce at this time of year for the ones who really need it."
That produce goes to help families who don't usually have access to locally grown produce. No amount of donated produce is too small. You can drop off the items at CEAP or you can contact the Garden Gleaning Project to learn more.
"The need is huge," says Alexa Artmann, CEAP program coordinator. "We have found that families are looking for that healthy, fresh produce."
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